Muslims on social media slammed a popular Liverpool soccer player, Mohamed “Mo” Salah, after he posted a picture of his family by a Christmas tree captioned with “#MerryChristmas.” One Muslim wrote: “I shall be unfollowing you and stop supporting Liverpool because you are celebrating Christmas with the Christians.” (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
- “As scholars who study the process of genocide, we believe that the actions of the Azerbaijani government constitute a risk of genocide for the Armenians of the region. We urge international agencies and governments to ensure the free access of people and goods to Nagorno-Karabakh.” — genocideprevention.am, December 13, 2022, Azerbaijan.
- “Let it be put on record that in the hundreds of attacks [on Christians] that have…killed thousands since 2014, we have not seen anyone arrested and brought to book over these heinous crimes against humanity. Instead, it is southern Kaduna traditional leaders, clergy and human right activists that do get arrested and put in prison over trumped-up allegations of ‘incitement.'” — Luka Biniyat, spokesman for the Southern Kaduna People’s Union, Morning Star News, December 23, 2022, Nigeria.
- On Dec. 17, a high-level Muslim official promulgated a new law saying that Christians could not celebrate Christmas without first obtaining a governmental permit. — Morning Star News, December 23, 2022, Indonesia.
- Until 2017, when a new government came to power, churches had few problems. Since then, the authorities have capriciously shut down 20 churches, so that only 11 now remain open in the entire nation, with ongoing threats that they too might be shut down. — mnonline.org, December 1, 2022, Algeria.
- “The persecution of Egypt’s Christian Copts is the longest ongoing persecution in the history of mankind, from 642, to today, 2022. Through all this time, maybe 70 years under British occupation were peaceful and good—the ‘golden era’ for Copts in all this duration…. I know of no group that has been persecuted for nearly 1400 years—with still no light at the end of the tunnel.” — Magdi Khalil, author who specializes in the situation of minorities in the Middle East, copticsolidarity.org, December 12, 2022, Egypt.
- “After converting to Christianity… five days later, I started receiving threatening messages on my phone of risking being killed for leaving Islam. Please pray for us, for God to heal us quickly to enable us look for where to go.” — Abdu Muyinga, Morning Star News, December 18, 2022, Uganda.
The following are among the murders and abuses inflicted on Christians by Muslims throughout the month of December 2022:
Genocidal Jihad against Christians
Turkey: Between November 20-25, 2022, Turkey launched 2,500 attacks—air, mortar, drone, artillery, etc.—several miles deep across Syria’s northern border. Governed by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), this is also where most of Syria’s religious minorities—Christians, Yazidis and Kurds — live, who were earlier persecuted by the Islamic State (“ISIS”). At least 48 people were killed and dozens wounded. The assault also destroyed or damaged 2,300 civilian homes and buildings, including a children’s hospital, a health center, an electrical power station, essential oil and gas processing facilities, critical grain towers, and a major bakery. Lethal Turkish attacks have continued, prompting Genocide Watch to issue a Genocide Emergency Alert on December 7, 2022:
“These military attacks by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime are part of a wider Turkish policy of annihilation of the Kurdish and Assyrian [Christian] people in northern Syria and Iraq. Turkey has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, including bombing, shelling, abduction, torture, and extrajudicial killings. The attacks are part of Turkey’s genocidal policies towards Kurds, Christians, and Ezidis.”
During a Dec. 15 webinar titled, “Is it Genocide? Turkey Targets Syria’s Christians, Yazidis & Kurds,” an expert panel underscored these points (summarized here). Turkey’s stated purpose for its aggression against northern Syria—to create a “safe zone” along its southern border with Syria—is a pretext and excuse for its true motivation: “to remove religious and ethnic minorities,” said Charmaine Hedding, president of the Shai Fund.
Erdoğan’s ground forces include former ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Tahrir al-Shams jihadists, Hedding added, who “are committing massive human rights abuses and have an agenda to create a caliphate, and they will eradicate the religious minorities in this area.”
Gregory Stanton, president of Genocide Watch, said:
“Turkey is a genocidal society… Turkey has conducted so many genocides in history… Going back many centuries, it [Turkey] has been anti-Christian, and has tried to slaughter as many Christians as possible.”
Kino Gabriel, a Christian Assyrian, stressed that the war on Christians in Syria has taken many forms over the years, and, in the modern era, traces back to ruling al-Assad dynasty’s implementation of Arabization, which saw Christians go from 25 percent of Syria in 1950 to 12 percent in 2010, with that number only getting smaller following ISIS, and now Turkey, which he reminded viewers is “a big supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and even those most radical factions.”
Azerbaijan: The Muslim nation’s actions against the Christian Armenians of Artsakh carry the risk of genocide, said a group of genocide experts in the following joint statement:
“We, the undersigned international genocide studies scholars and educators, condemn the actions of the Azerbaijani government in creating a humanitarian crisis for Nagorno-Karabakh by closing of the Goris-Stepanakert corridor on Dec. 12, 2022 and cutting gas supplies to the Armenian population. As scholars who study the process of genocide, we believe that the actions of the Azerbaijani government constitute a risk of genocide for the Armenians of the region. We urge international agencies and governments to ensure the free access of people and goods to Nagorno-Karabakh. These concerns are being raised in the context of our participation in the International Global Forum against the Crime of Genocide during which we learned of these acts of aggression against the civilians of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Nigeria: The genocide of Christians in the West African nation continued unabated with several lethal attacks launched on Christian villages by Muslim Fulani herdsmen. Between Dec. 18-21 alone, the Fulani butchered 46 Christians during several coordinated attacks. Discussing the worst of these raids, Luka Biniyat, spokesman of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union said:
“It is with heavy heart and deep sense of loss that we announce the gruesome, mass murder of not less that 38 harmless, unarmed villagers. The killings, which lasted long, started around 11 p.m. Sunday night. Not only were these poor innocent citizens killed, not less than 100 houses were razed, with some victims burned alive.”
After saying that there had been plenty of warning that the attack would occur, Biniyat asserted that “the security forces deployed there did nothing under this glaring potential threat to security”:
“Let it be put on record that in the hundreds of attacks [on Christians] that have put many parts of southern Kaduna into ruins and killed thousands since 2014, we have not seen anyone arrested and brought to book over these heinous crimes against humanity. Instead, it is southern Kaduna traditional leaders, clergy and human right activists that do get arrested and put in prison over trumped-up allegations of ‘incitement.'”
Also discussing these ongoing raids, Nigerian Bishop Yakubu Kundi said,
“The motivation for these attacks as far as we know is that it’s a deliberate plan to unleash evil and to terrify our people because we do not profess the same religion or because we oppose their violent activities on our land.”
Christmas-Related Hate and Violence
“A local resident who could no longer bear the tree that stood in front of the residence where he lives, simply decided to cut it down. The gesture was accompanied by a shout: ‘Allahu akbar’. Neighbors heard and saw it and raised the alarm.”
Spain: A video posted on Dec. 17 shows a Muslim migrant, in broad daylight with dogs barking in the background, bludgeoning and destroying a public Nativity scene with a hammer in Calahorra.
United Kingdom: Muslims on social media slammed a popular Liverpool soccer player, Mohamed “Mo” Salah, after he posted a picture of his family by a Christmas tree captioned with “#MerryChristmas.” One Muslim wrote: “I shall be unfollowing you and stop supporting Liverpool because you are celebrating Christmas with the Christians.” Another said:
“I’ve been a Liverpool fan since I was born but I will stop supporting the club because you are celebrating Christmas with the Christians. You’ve just lost me as a fan Mo Salah. Goodbye!”
According to the report:
“Others claim Salah’s annual Christmas post is a curse on Liverpool. After he put a similar picture on social media in 2020, the Reds failed to win a game at Anfield for eight matches in a row.”
“Police claimed that the arrested youth kept the holy Quran inside the church with a view to destroy the communal harmony ahead of Christmas, the biggest religious festival of the country’s Christian community…. The police commissioner said at about 6:40am today (Sunday), an unidentified person left a bag wrapping with a red cloth at the altar secretly. Sister Shanti of the church saw the bag. As the sister became suspicious, she had opened the bag and found a copy of holy Quran inside it. Then the church authorities informed police.”
“The agreement effectively bans religious Christmas celebrations in Java Island’s Maja District, Banten Province as strict requirements and bureaucratic opposition make obtaining official worship permits impossible for small fellowships. The announcement comes despite lack of any national-level restrictions on religious Christmas and New Year’s celebrations in the Muslim-majority country.”
Separately, on Christmas Day, Muslims in West Java stopped a church congregation from celebrating Christmas in a home by surrounding and forcibly preventing celebrants from entering the house. In a video of the incident, a woman from the church can be heard pleading with the Muslims:
“Come on, many of you insult us, are tyrannizing us. Please, the worship service is only a few minutes, so it’s up to you to talk about [relenting]. Please, come on.”
Onlookers, police officers and soldiers present made no response to the Christian woman’s pleas.
“No one has claimed responsibility, but the attack occurred in an area where the government is battling insurgents linked to al Qaeda in north Africa and Islamic State fighters.”
Attacks on Churches
“The 20-year-old building of a 100-member Sudanese Church of Christ congregation in El Daoka, Al Qadarif state was set ablaze by a suspected member of the Sudanese Armed Forces, church sources said… The suspect is a local man who opposed the presence of the church in the area, said the sources, who declined to name him. He was under investigation, said a church attorney, who described the attack as a criminal act that violated religious freedom and was punishable by two to five years of prison.”
Algeria: According to a Dec. 1 report, following “intense pressure,” governing authorities sent police to shut down another church, in Aït-Atelli. This is the most recent of many churches to be shut down in the North African nation. Until 2017, when a new government came to power, churches had few problems. Since then, the authorities have capriciously shut down 20 churches, so that only 11 now remain open in the entire nation, with ongoing threats that they too might be shut down. Discussing all of these closures, one pastor said:
“In 2017, when the new government came to power, they started this persecution…. The government [says], ‘Oh, we are [a] Muslim country. We don’t want any other religion or faith [to be] practiced besides Islam.'”
Egypt: On Dec. 24, Muslims rioted and attacked a church. Two years earlier, the roof of the Church of the Virgin and Anba Samuel Church had begun to crumble and fall through the building, injuring congregants. After two years of appeals to the authorities for a permit to fix the roof, the church finally received approval. Because this is the only church in an area covering several villages and hamlets, it serves some 600 Christian families. Built in 1979, it is already severely overcrowded (and therefore a “safety hazard,” like many churches that recently “caught fire” in Egypt.)
Accordingly, during the application process, the Christians had also requested approval to enlarge the church. The authorities refused, granting only approval to fix the roof— yet even this was too much for the local Muslim populace, who rioted and hurled stones at the church, at the Copts, and at the roof workers. They also set fire to a Christian farmhouse adjacent to the church. Police eventually arrived and quelled the riot. Christians were told they could resume roof repairs.
The following day, however, the local district governor came to “inspect” it, and quickly decided that the roof repairs must halt — immediately and indefinitely — even though more than a third of the work had already been completed. When the Christians present at the site pleaded, “How can we pray when the roof is in such a condition, especially when it’s raining?” the Muslim governor replied, “Cover it with a tarp!” In fact, this is not an option: the partial repairs make it difficult to erect a tarp. If the congregants did not comply, and continued to work on the roof, the governor angrily threatened to completely “demolish” the church.
When asked to explain his decision, or at least tell them what they needed to do to resume repairs, the governor gave no answer, and left the site. All the cement mixers and trucks that the church had hired left on the governor’s orders, resulting in a monetary loss of some 100,000 Egyptian pounds (roughly $3,400) that the church had paid to repair the roof.
Also in December, Egypt’s Ministry of Endowments announced a new record: an additional 1,200 new mosques were opened in 2022. Egyptian-born Magdi Khalil, an author and public debater who specializes in citizenship rights, civil society, and the situation of minorities in the Middle East, responded to these statistics in an interview by underscoring Egypt’s double standards when it comes to churches.
He said that, whereas there are about 120,000 mosques and more than one million prayer halls in Egypt, there are only about 5,200 churches. Considering that Copts of all denominations make up, at the very least, 10% of Egypt’s population of 104 million, this means that there is one mosque or prayer hall for every 83 Muslims, but only one church for every 2,000 Christians.
The government also completely subsidizes a great many, if not most, of Egypt’s mosques. More than 4 billion Egyptian pounds [around $134,300,000] are paid annually by the state to subsidize the Ministry of Islamic Endowments, which is charged with affairs related to mosques and Islamic da’wa (propaganda).
Conversely, not only does Egypt make it immensely hard for Christians to open or maintain churches, but the government does not contribute a “single penny” to their survival, said Khalil. Churches are required to pay their utility bills, which no mosque in Egypt does: the government picks up their bills. Aside from the obvious discrimination and legal obstacles that the government of Egypt has set up against churches, Khalil also said that “close to one thousand churches have been attacked or torched by mobs in the last five decades [since the 1970s] in Egypt.” He closed by saying:
“The persecution of Egypt’s Christian Copts is the longest ongoing persecution in the history of mankind, from 642, to today, 2022. Through all this time, maybe 70 years under British occupation were peaceful and good—the ‘golden era’ for Copts in all this duration. Then [during the colonial era] there was much more diversity in the government, including some Coptic ministers, etc. But the overwhelming majority of the time witnessed the Copts’ persecution…. I know of no group that has been persecuted for nearly 1400 years—with still no light at the end of the tunnel.”
Uganda: The Jihad on Apostates and Evangelists
The following incidents all took place in the Christian-majority nation of Uganda.
Muslims sprayed a Christian pastor’s face with acid, causing him to lose most of his vision. After preaching an evening service, a Muslim man pretending to be a Christian congregant approached Pastor Frank Mutabaazi and asked for a ride home. The pastor agreed. The pastor recalled from his hospital bed:
“… three men dressed in Islamic attire appeared and pulled out a bottle and started spraying on me through the window while shouting and mentioning that I am an enemy of their religion as well as a deceiver who is not worthy to live. From that time on, I did not know what happened, only to find myself at a nearby clinic in Namunghona after five hours.”
Now he can only dimly see from one eye, and has difficulties talking and eating due to severe acid burns.
Muslims forced poison down the throats of a pastor and a Christian couple, recent converts from Islam. The pastor, Francis Kutekereza, 51, was holding a prayer meeting in the couple’s home when seven Muslims barged in and tried to force them to eat cooked bananas laced with a fungicide that causes ptomaine poisoning. According to the husband:
“It was a real struggle in the house. Three men held the pastor, and the remaining four were on our necks. We took [ate] some little pieces of bananas before escaping, but the pastor could not escape.”
Due to all the noise, which alerted neighbors, the Muslim assailants eventually fled, “after having kicked and beaten the pastor” some more. According to the report:
“Within three hours, Pastor Kutekereza was suffering nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. The husband and his wife, 23, had the same symptoms after five hours… The couple received treatment at a Kigorobya health clinic for three weeks and were released on Dec. 14, but the pastor remains in critical condition.”
“The two brothers were studying the Bible under a mango tree outside their father’s home after returning from a Sunday service in Busembatia when one of their brothers, mosque leader Hamuza Lubega, arrived shouting the jihadist slogan, ‘Allah Akbar [Allah is the greatest],’ he said. Lubega seized their Bible and began tearing its pages, then called their brothers Shafiki Kato and Ahmad Sewanyana, Nakimuli said.”
“We were accused of bringing an unholy, corrupted book into the home of a Muslim family and following Issa [Jesus] as the Son of God, which is blasphemy in Islam. Shafiki was sent to get some more family members with cane[s] to use on us. As they arrived, they started beating us with it.”
When a large group of Christians passed by and saw what was happening, the Muslims told them to mind their own business and move along, “as they were disciplining their family members who had left their family religion of Allah,” Nakimuli said, but the Christians managed to rescue the two brothers and take them to a nearby clinic. Both brothers suffered severe wounds and cuts. Senyange’s wife, fearing trouble from her Muslim in-laws, took their three children ages 2, 3 and 7, after the attack and went to live with her Muslim relatives.
Muslims burned down a home where a Christian cell fellowship of 23 had formed and met. Earlier, according to their leader, Nicholas Mugume, “The Muslims have been accusing us of making noise and also converting Muslims to Christianity.” So a local mosque leader sent four Muslims to the home, where Nicholas and his wife were having a meal.
“After a heated discussion, complaints and accusations of us converting Muslims, they poured petrol into the charcoal stove, and immediately fire spread and caught the entire house as the assailants left.”
The home was reduced to ashes.
Muslims angered with the conversions to Christianity of Abdu Muyinga and his 23-year-old son, Hamisi Sentongo, viciously beat them. Late on Dec. 10, a group of seven Muslims forced their way into the Christians’ home. Only the mother was present; they threatened her to call her husband and ask him to return by saying that she felt very ill. She did. On arriving they found men dressed in white clothes, which they mistook for police or health officials. According to Abdu:
“I stopped and one hit me with a stick on my shoulder, the back, the head and left leg, and I fell unconscious. My son sustained slight injuries in the mouth, and his right wrist and hand suffered a fracture, making it very stiff. The attackers left us half-dead and half-naked.”
Passersby found and took them to a nearby clinic, where the father regained consciousness. Abdu continued:
“We were attacked and beaten for leaving Islam, as the sharia [Islamic law] instructs Muslims to kill anyone who leaves Islam. We survived being killed by the grace of the Lord Jesus…. After converting to Christianity, the story about our conversion circulated countrywide, and five days later, I started receiving threatening messages on my phone of risking being killed for leaving Islam. Please pray for us, for God to heal us quickly to enable us look for where to go.”
While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by extremists is growing. The report posits that such persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location. It includes incidents that take place during, or are reported on, any given month.